Breaking with the Status Quo

Tech leader Jean-Louis Marin implemented an e-commerce platform for Dynamic Tire that changed the way it did business, catapulting it from years behind the times to years ahead

Technology is everywhere. Over the past two decades, technology has been integrated into every sort of business, making it part of standard business operations. Every industry uses technology to its advantage, right? According to Dynamic Tire’s CIO Jean-Louis Marin, that’s just not so. “The tire industry is usually about five years behind everyone else,” he says.

While the overall industry might be behind the times, Marin knows the status quo doesn’t cut it for Dynamic Tire anymore, so he set out to implement a business-to-business tech solution that would address the complexity of the Ontario-based tire company’s data platform.

Under Marin’s leadership, IT now plays a critical role in Dynamic Tire’s competitive edge. After joining, Marin developed a unique e-commerce portal that enables customers to comanage containers, build container orders, place factory-direct orders, track container progress online, and draw from inventory at company warehouses in the United States and Canada. It’s thanks to this portal that Dynamic Tire’s dealer network is now able to achieve its business objectives more effortlessly and efficiently than ever before.

Marin says while the accuracy of the portal might be new, the idea certainly wasn’t. “The genesis of the idea began eight years ago, when we were very much a regular business—taking orders on the phone, transmitting spreadsheets, and plugging things into the system,” he says. “Unfortunately, that translated into human error. Communicating information back to the customer was always hit-or-miss.”

These errors led to headaches for the company—for instance, some customers complained of missed orders or orders that were not available for delivery. With e-commerce on the rise, Marin recognized that technology could be part of the solution and challenged himself to create a technology-positive environment for the organization.

“We wanted to make things easier for our customers to do business with us,” he explains. “We didn’t go online for the sake of going online; the value-adds were for customers to get relevant information in terms of pricing and scheduling for themselves in order for the factory to make things for them.”

Marin is quick to point out that this change doesn’t mean facilitating a scenario where customers are ordering directly from the factory, thereby eliminating Dynamic Tire from the equation altogether, but to end any chance of a customer saying, “This is not what I wanted.”

“If a customer is in a portal e-commerce system and grabs the information to make a decision his or herself, and submits the order, they can’t come back and say it’s not what they ordered. The onus of error is on their side now,” Marin says. “We have become one of the front-runners to offer customers an interface where they can self-serve and eliminate the humans in between.”

Dynamic Tire is a business partner for more than two thousand independent and chained retail and wholesale tire stores and warehouses in Canada and the United States. It also offers warehouse and direct container programs.

“Through these programs we save a lot of money and energy—things like renting facilitates, man power, and warehousing costs,” says Marin. Yet these are just the fringe benefits to what Marin says is the company’s goal of giving the customer a positive experience. “We want to change the way our customers see the evolution of the order.”

For example, if a customer places an order online, a month later the ordered item may be put into production, and the Dynamic Tire Portal System will alert the customer. As the container is built—with the tires inside—the system sends a notification and provides a container ID for tracking and a shipping ID for when it leaves the port. Dynamic Tire then facilitates the order from the port to the package’s final destination. The result is a fully informed and happy customer.

Looking at the evolution of this project, it has certainly come a long way: the portal has gone through three major alterations since the original direct container portal was created five years ago and the creation of the e-commerce platform seven years ago.

“We continue to evolve it over time,” Marin says. “We not only have the ability to allow customers to pick the warehouse, understand structures, and request a delivery date, but we’re trying to make it as easy as possible and give them options so they can make intelligent decisions.”

At the company, IT is viewed as a strategic partner to the business. It is a philosophy that CEO Bob Sherkin has always advocated for and is the main reason Marin works at the company.

“With technology at the table with the rest of the executive management team, it means we are looking for opportunities to build new ways to do traditional business online and in the new digital world,” Marin says.

Company analytics prove that having technology on the table is working. After all, when the human element is taken out of the equation, it practically eliminates all redundancies and errors. The staff can focus on value-added activities rather than redundant clerical work.

“Our salespeople don’t take orders anymore; there’s no value in that,” Marin says. “Now, they tell our story and bring solutions to our customers.”

Thanks to Marin, that story includes being ahead in technology.